What Makes a 5W Member?
A woman who is curious about the world, wants to share experiences, learn about other cultures, make new friends and have fun!
5W is open to any woman over the age of 18 and the current membership demonstrates the inclusiveness and diversity of this unique organisation. We have members of all ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, but all with a common interest in expanding their worlds – whether through travel, correspondence or meeting new 5W friends in their local area.
That is the 5W ethos and the stories from our members sum up how this works for them.
Lauren, Californa, USA
I first heard about 5W at my local Rotary club in California. Annette Jahnel was speaking to the club about her book, My Year of Beds, in which she documents her travels as the first woman to circumvent the globe in a land vehicle. I was fascinated by how she was able to connect with so many women internationally through a program I had never before heard of: 5W, Women Welcome Women World Wide. There are a myriad of apps and websites nowadays for renting, sharing, and trading spaces, but this was the first program I had heard of to feel so welcoming and safe. As a young female university student, this is highly appealing to me. But, what really won me over were all of Jahnel’s stories of connecting with other women of 5W on a personal level. 5W is not a sterile financial transaction, it’s a warm social and cultural interaction. When I travel, I travel to learn about and connect with others. This is what 5W is all about and my core reason for joining. I look forward to traveling with the Women Welcome Women World Wide community soon!
Moira, Tasmania, Australia
Travelling with my aunt, who is also a 5W trustee in Australia, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting the trustees of 5W as they gathered for their Annual Trustees’ Meeting in Hasselt Belgium. My interactions with this wonderful group of women occurred after their meetings, being invited to join them for breakfast and dinner each day.
I was absolutely inspired by this group with their knowledge and traveling experiences, that if combined would result in circumnavigating the globe a dozen times and more.
These women inspired me and taught me that age is a number, adventure never dies, they can dance the feet off anyone half their ages and “if you can’t travel the world, then bring the world to you”.
This is an amazing not for profit organization and if the trustees are an indicator of other members, they are a group that welcomes all and are happy to share their homes and culture with you.
My membership is on the way and I am registering as a day hostess to share Tasmania with others. If you have heard of 5W and have hesitated about joining; hesitate no more as the world is waiting for you.
Carol, British Columbia, Canada
I’m done. I officially retired this year, after a lifetime of teaching. My goal this year is to fully explore 5W and be comfortable with taking advantage of all that it offers. I am seeing it as a lifeline for me at this point. I love to travel but have been held back by working full time and not having people to travel with. I dealt with the former by retiring; I am hoping 5W helps me to solve the latter.
I joined 5W a few years ago and have read the newsletters faithfully. This spring, when I knew I would have more time on my hands, I made a pact with myself to embrace this organization and jump in. Since then, I have met up with numerous members of our local Vancouver group for walks, lunches, potlucks, fireworks, and informational sessions about travel possibilities. I have had my first 5W guest in my home – from Germany. She truly inspired me and I thank her for the patience in answering my multitude of questions about just how it is done.
I am about to embark on my first solo trip – for five weeks – to Europe. It is made so much easier by leaning on 5W members for advice and places to stay. During my time overseas I am already:
- staying at the home of a member in London when I arrive. She is helping me with train tickets and significantly easing my mind about the initial few days
- attending the Gathering near Hull for 8 nights with 25 other 5W members from around the world
- spending two weeks with my daughter, who is flying over to meet me. During this time we decided on a place in Southern France, thanks to messaging a 5W member who lives in the area (this was done at
6am her time, while she was packing for a two month wander in Canada!) and talking with Vancouver members who know France well. These women have been invaluable to me in adding to my comfort level about travelling. Our second week is in Paris, again thanks to another 5W member (who it turns out lives very close to me). We have emailed, Skyped and actually met and shared stories, to the point that we are well on the way to becoming good friends. The three of us will meet briefly in Paris next month.
- when my daughter leaves I have nothing planned. Again, a first for me! I hope to meet up with more members – maybe back in Britain or who knows? Perhaps an interesting possibility will come up at the Gathering.
My goal for this trip is to fully experience the opportunities available by being a member of 5W. I think I will pretty well have it covered. For me, this trip is all about the journey, not the destination. I wish you all happy and safe travels,
Pauline, Canterbury, Kent, UK
Women Welcome Women World Wide, My Life – now with Disabilities
In 1987 I met an Australian lady at top of a mountain in Boulder, Colorado. We were actually visiting a mutual friend and she told me about this wonderful organisation, Women Welcome Women, as she had been a member from its beginnings. She came to Canterbury three times during the next few years, telling me constantly to join. In 1993 I decided I would think about it, joined and read my Newsletter eagerly for two years, dreaming of travel.
What an organisation to join. As I retired in 1995, well this was time for my first big adventure, a five day Gathering around Port Macquarie, with my husband and daughter.
After my first trip to Australia, I had the travel bug! As many international Gatherings also welcomed husbands, over the next few years we had many little trips, including an amazing Gathering in South Africa. For my next adventure I was planning a trip to New Zealand, originally for 25, but had 40 members eager to come.
By 2008, as I was suffering more severe back pain, I began to need a wheelchair, but this didn’t stop me travelling. I took my own scooter on the plane to Chicago for another Gathering and this gave me so much independence to travel around. I have since travelled to Berlin for 5W’s 30th Anniversary celebrations and to Belgium, as well as meeting up with visitors to the UK Last year we did a big trip, to Seattle, Portland in Oregon, then drove North to Vancouver, where we met up for wonderful day with the local 5W group. Of course, visitors are always welcome too. As a member in Nelson, New Zealand once said, “ I can’t travel myself now, but we love having visitors!!” Happy Travels to all our wonderful members, yes have courage and just go!!!